by Steven Ertelt
April 12, 2005
Creve Coeur, MO (LifeNews.com) — The first set of sextuplets born in Missouri are celebrating their first birthday after their parents made national headlines by refusing to consider having an abortion of one or more of the babies to ensure the survival of the others.
St. John’s Mercy Medical Center, the hospital where they were born, held a birthday bash honoring Ron and Tina Otten’s children, according to a KSDK-TV news report.
The three boys and three girls each received their own birthday cake, but singing "Happy Birthday" became difficult when friends and family had to insert each of the six names.
Jacob, Isabella, Madison, Joshua, Riley and Tyler were born second apart about 10 weeks ahead of their normal due date. All are healthy despite the premature birth.
The Ottens have had a busy household as they already had two daughters before the set of six children were born — Abigail, 3, and Hannah, 5.
"She is doing a wonderful job," Joanne Callahan, a St. John’s nurse who treated Tina and the sextuplets, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper. "They look happy and healthy and Tina looks all put together."
"We’ve got a miracle on our hands here and it’s just amazing that everything’s just worked out the way it has," Ron Otten told the newspaper.
The Ottens chose to go ahead with the pregnancy, even though doctors recommended abortion. The physicians used the phrase "selective reduction," a procedure in which one or more babies are aborted to improve the chances that the rest will survive and be healthy.
But the Ottens rejected the idea of ending the lives of their babies before birth.
"We asked them not to even discuss it with us again," Ron Otten told a Belleville, Illinois newspaper. "We can’t play God."
"They talked and cried over it a lot," Johnnie Reckert, Tina’s father, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper. "They knew the babies were already alive. There was no way they could do that."
"They’re beautiful," grandmother Linda Otten said of her six new grandchildren after they all came home from the hospital. Jacob was the last to leave and had remained hospitalized for acid reflux.
Linda and area residents helped the Otten family move into a recently renovated house.
The Otten Family Benefit Fund has been established at the Bank of Edwardsville, P.O. Box 899, Edwardsville, IL 62025.